Harrison Ford Breaks The Silence On Han Solo’s Return In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker


Harrison Ford notoriously pushed for Han Solo to die in Return of the Jedi. He argued that the character’s death would add gravitas and make Han a key part of the story. It took him 32 years to get his wish though with The Force Awakens, where Solo was killed by his son Kylo Ren. And what do you know – Ford was right. Having Han Solo die really did make the film better and substantially raise the stakes. And, as a bonus for the actor, he assumed he’d stop being pestered by interviewers about whether he’d return to Star Wars. 

So it was something of a surprise when he appeared as a ghost/vision in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Now, in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ford has talked us through why he died in The Force Awakens and why he came back, saying:

“I figured that [Han Solo’s] utility had been exhausted, bled out, and was … well, I was willing to die for the cause. Bring some gravitas. … No good deed goes unpunished.”

He then went on to explain how director J.J. Abrams convinced him to return, explaining:

“J.J. said, ‘This is a good idea. I, J.J., have decided that this is a good idea and I would like you to do it.”

Fair enough. Kimmel also went on to ask if Ford trusted Abrams, to which the actor replied: “Don’t you?”

Abrams himself spoke on the matter in a recent interview with Vanity Fair as well and here’s his side of the story:

“We had a meeting and talked about what it would be. Harrison, who is one of the greatest people ever, and incredibly thoughtful about everything that he does, all he ever wants is to understand the utility of the character: ‘What is my role?’ … It was about sitting with him and explaining what our intention was. We talked about it for quite a while, I sent him the pages. He got it, and of course, as you can see, he was wonderful.”

I suspect all this is basically true, though I don’t think it tells the whole story. My bet is that Han Solo’s spectral appearance in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker should probably have been Leia. After all, it’d make far more sense for her to appear as a Force Ghost now that we’ve established her Jedi training, but after Carrie Fisher’s death it might have felt inappropriate to show her as a ghost.

Whether it made sense or not, it was at least nice to see Ford as Han Solo one last time. But now, finally, he can hang up his blaster and wave goodbye to a galaxy far, far away. However, it looks like his bullwhip and fedora still have a bit of life left in them.